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Louisiana Tech University

Center for Applied Physics

Research Highlights

Center for Applied Physics Studies (CAPS) Research

Physics and the applied sciences, such as engineering, manufacturing and medicine have traditionally operated as separate disciplines. Although many of the important breakthroughs in applied fields have come ultimately from basic research, often a time lag of years or decades has elapsed between the basic research and the application. An integrated laboratory environment at the university campuses, where physicists and engineers work closely with one another not only hastens the transfer of basic research to applications, but also makes the technologies generated by engineers more readily available to the research laboratories.

Within this relationship the research equipment needed by different disciplines, otherwise duplicated in separate laboratories, can be readily shared, resources can be spent efficiently, and laboratories can be kept up with the state-of-the-art equipment. As a teaching environment, the shared laboratory provides students with cross-disciplinary team training which is urgently needed in a highly technological society.

Moving Forward

The Center for Applied Physical Studies (CAPS) was founded in 1997 at Louisiana Tech University to be a link between physics and the applied sciences. The research program was originally centered around the D0 experiment at Fermilab, where the members of CAPS participated in one of the most important discoveries of the last decade, discovery of the top quark, and around the G0 experiment at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (TJNAF), where the members of CAPS participated in another of the most important discoveries of the last decade, the strange content of the nucleon. In the last two years, members of CAPS are developing new multipurpose detectors based on electron multiplication in gasses. They are planning to test the detectors at the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (CAMD) at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge creating an opportunity to build collaborative efforts across the State of Louisiana. Other responsibilities of the CAPS members are computer software development, data analysis and theoretical interpretation of the results.

Most of the CAPS funding is derived from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, and
Department of Energy, EPSCOR, NASA, LaSpace, LaBOR and the Northwest Louisiana Biomedical Research Foundation.

The Center for Applied Physics Studies (CAPS) has averaged $700K in external funding per year. The CAPS faculty members supervise between 25 and 30 undergraduate and graduate students in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics.